14 July 2008

Oh! Canada!

I was surprised and somewhat pleased when I started "Pitchpull" to find many Canadian citizens stopping by, leaving interesting, thoughtful comments. I was fortunate to have considerable email correspondence with one Northerner in particular, where we amiably discussed the differences between our countries. National Health Care and National Defense were top issues in those missives, with a little U.S. politics thrown in for good measure. I'm now realizing we didn't discuss human rights to the degree we should have...
rights like freedom of speech.

Apparently, Freedom of Speech doesn't really exist as a right in Canada.

I don't know if you've been paying attention to our Northern border, but Canada has had quite the tussle going on about what can and what cannot be said about a certain religious group. Up until recently, the skirmishes have been pretty one-sided, with the religious group winning most of these battles simply because they had more money to throw into the fight. Now, finally, Canadians (iens) seem to have awakened to the dangers they face and have begun to dig in their heels. That's a good thing.

One author seems to think if Canada doesn't start protecting the rights of its' citizens, it should be put on a human rights watch here in the United States.

Oh, and my predictions to that correspondent about National Health Care in Canada are beginning to come true too.
I take no pleasure from that... it's just the way socialist systems naturally seem to mature.


Oshawapilot said...

The Canadian health care system has it's problems, that's for sure - my wife is a RN and I'm quite privy to alot of the inside operations of the system.

But to suggest that it's in "ruins" is simply hogwash. The author of that article seems to have a one sided incredibly skewed view at best.

I've dealt with the healthcare system personally many times through my life (yes, recently as well) and it's still working just fine. Yes, it's admittedly slow at times when it comes to things beyond front-line doctor visits and basic tests, but it still works wonderfully most of the time.

Greybeard said...

I guess it depends on where you stand, Mark.
To these families, calling the system "in ruins" is probably putting it mildly... their loved ones would be unnecessarily assuming ambient temperature if they had depended on Canada's wonderful health care.
I won't bandy definitions with ya.
The system is broken, and it's getting brokener.

Oshawapilot said...

There are horror stories anywhere you look. My wife started her RN career as a nurse in Mississippi (Jackson) and has plenty of horror stories of the US medical system as well.

She'll be the first to admit we have problems here as well, and to some degree even I'll agree that the US system has big advantages, but when it comes to universal access of all citizens without fear of inability to pay or having to cancel their retirement because of the costs, I think that our system wins hands down.

Again, pointing out one (or ten, or however many) horror stories on the net about the Canadian healthcare system is one thing, but do a survey of people who are quite happy with it (which are the ones you don't hear about since they're nowhere near as vocal as the ones that have had bad experiences) and I think you'll see that the reality is different.

Greybeard said...

Universal access?
Read my latest post.

No one will argue our system is perfect... it's FAR from it.
The area where I am an EXPERT... using helicopters to transport patients, is terribly misused and would be changed dramatically were I King of the World!
I'd also force Doctors to recertify, as virtually everyone else in medicine is required to do. I'd open Medical Schools to more applicants so more Doctors here would use English as their primary language.

But let me tell ya Mark... there's a joke told by many comedians here that refers to situations like the tumor removal in my link in my comment above:
"If we in the U.S. emulate the Canadian Medical System, where will Canadians come to get their health care."
Humor is only funny if there is a grain of truth to it.

Thanks for telling us the sky isn't falling in Canada.

Oshawapilot said...

Referring to the uninsured situation?

In emergency situations I think it's clear that nobody should get turned away when death is a real possibility, but I refer more to elective surgery.

For example, I had a C1/C2 cervical spinal fusion several years back to stabilize a birth defect that was unstable. It wasn't "life or death" so much that I would immediately die if it's wasn't fixed, so by most standards it wouldn't be covered unless I was insured.

I never found out the cost (we never see how much the healthcare system is charged on our behalf's, which I personally think should change so that some people who use it frivolously had a clue how much they were damaging the system) but I can only imagine that the whole course of treatment tests, MRI's, scans, and the neurosurgery itself, implants, and hospital stay afterwards easily stretched into the $200,000 (probably significantly plus) range. I could never have paid this myself, and even an insurance plan would have probably seriously balked at paying it.

I only paid the cost of the gas to drive to and from the hospital in Toronto, and the parking.

My wife had plenty of stories from the US where patients that really needed elective surgeries (joint replacements for a single example) were forced to live a lifetime of pain simply because they had no insurance, nor any means to cover the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars it would cost for the surgery.

Emergencies I think should be covered no matter what, but there's a whole other level of medical care beyond the emergency level that universal healthcare addresses.